Because Jason Momoa’s headlining turn in the Aquaman movie is so much fun, we thought we’d take a moment and share with you a forgotten low-budget flick featuring the fish-communicating character. Originally released in 1984, Aquaman: The Cast of the Angler is a wonderfully enjoyable short created by filmmakers Jeff Klein and Thomas Farr for a measley $10,000. Despite the miniscule budget, the effort has the feel of one of the era’s superhero TV productions (not as good as the Wonder Woman series but better than The Amazing Spider-Man).
In the link to the video on his YouTube page, co-creator Thomas Farr gives viewers some much-needed insight into this project’s creation and subsequent emergence on the convention scene:
Jeff Klein and I made this during film school for 10 grand. We won Best Fantasy Film from the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association and Best Picture CSUN Film Showcase. DC Comics gave us permission to shoot the film (Thanks Jenette Kahn DC Comics 1979-2002) The movie was pirated and sold as a TV pilot. I accidentally found it at a comic book convention in the 90’s (as a double feature with another super hero pilot).
After the film was screened we had a few Hollywood companies approach us wanting to make Aquaman into a show. New World Pictures brought us into meeting, optioned the material, and basically didn’t talk to us afterwards. The show never happened. Jeff and I will always be proud of the film. We had written a million dollar script so we shot a few scenes as a trailer/short. No money for effects it has a “Six Million Dollar Man” look with the feel of the old Batman series of the 60s. We were ahead of our time. We always knew this could be a great property. Hoping the new movie is fun and exciting.
While we are personally thankful that a 1990s Aquaman series didn’t happen (especially given how TV handled the Justice League pilot), The Cast of the Angler helps us look at one way the character could translate to the small screen. WB execs, take note:
The only problem here? We love the campy seriousness of this adventure and want to see more. Ultimately that’s the trouble with fan productions like these, far too often they are exploding with joyfulness that is sorely lacking in carefully polished studio productions.
These days Aquaman has left his punchline status behind him (well, mostly), but it’s nice to revisit his goofy past sometimes as well — as this fun, forgotten relic perfectly illustrates.